Not be be confused with Campari, which is a totally different substance, and one that we shall doubtless come to in due course, Cinzano is a Vermouth. Which means, it seems, that one takes a wine, fortify it through adding some kind of spirit, 'aromatize' this with a top secret recipe of herbs and spices (it will come as no surprise that the different Vermouth makers treat the list of herbs used to impart flavour to their product as a closely guarded secret.
Why one would chose to do this to a wine is a bit of a mystery to me. It must, I suppose, have been a not particularly good year.
Be that as it may, once the Vermouth had been made (in Turin, in 1757 in this instance) people found they quite liked it. And so this particular recipe was handed down from father to son etc. Cinzano saw that this was a good thingand introduced a Bianco, an extra-dry and (urgh) a Rosé. But Rosso is the original, and so it seems like a good place to start.
But what does it taste like? No idea. Time to experiment.
(I regret that, due to excessive time spent with very small baby (our own), experiment in this area has been delayed. However, we hope to get something to you soon, and in the meantime here are some recipies with Cinzano in them)
- Campari Americano - Combines both weird red liquids into a single drink. Pour Campari and Cinzano Rosso Vermouth (1 oz each) over ice in a rocks or highball glass. Add a splash of club soda. Garnish with an orange twist.
- Cinzano Apple Jack - What could be more appetising than vermouth and apple juice? Add 1oz Cinzano Rosso to a highball glass filled with ice. Stir and top with apple juice. Add a dust of grated cinnamon
- Bronx - Shake 2oz gin, 1oz dry vermouth and 1oz sweet vermouth (Cinzano, in this case) with 2oz fresh orange juice and plenty of ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a twist of orange.
- One can also make a martini with equal parts dry and sweet vermouth. I have seen this referred to as a 'Perfect martini'
Or, if that all sounds a bit complex, simply drink with tonic water. Cinzano themselves recommend a 2:1 ratio of vermouth to tonic.